Thursday, May 13, 2010

Video game number one hundred and twenty two: Things on Wheels

Video game review number one hundred and twenty two in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is"Things on Wheels".

Normally, a racing game like this one would draw the obvious comparison to the Mario Kart series. I've done that several times now, and when I heard about this game...I assumed I'd probably be doing more of the same. Interestingly enough, within 10 seconds of playing this one, I wasn't thinking of Mario Kart at all. Instead, I was thinking of Re-Volt racing.

Re-Volt was one of the pack-in titles with the Xbox Live Beta way back in the days of the original Xbox console. Along with MotoGP, this was the game that introduced the world to the wonders of playing console games with other people online. Re-Volt was the perfect Xbox Live were racing little cars, you could talk to people...and everyone you talked to seem to be having fun. This was Xbox Live before all the douchebags invaded...and it was a beautiful place.

Things on Wheels instantly reminded me of that game, and moments later, I found out why. Apparently, this game was made by the same folks who made "Mad Tracks" for Xbox Live Arcade a few years back, and they've thrown in all sorts of easter eggs that pay homage to Mad Tracks and Re-Volt.

As this is an Xbox Live Arcade game, I can overlook the fact that this game looks like it was designed for the original Xbox. The graphics are nothing special, and the gameplay is very...retro. Simple controls, silly weapons....this one seems like a classic timewaster that you can pick up and play for one race before moving on. There's a story, but it's in the form of a "blog" written before races...and I skipped it during the first 5 tracks I played. Text stories don't really "do it" for me.

The game has plenty of features, you can upgrade your cars, play against other racers online...and there are leaderboards that track your best times. There aren't a ton of racing games for Xbox Live, so I'd have to compare this one to Mad Tracks or Re-Volt. Both of those were games that were free (or under 10 bucks) and this one is exactly like them. Oddly enough, it's not quite as good as the 4 dollar Burger King game "Pocketbike Racers" was. That was the best cheap racing game ever. :-)

Overall score? 6/10. A bit better than average, but not good enough to be a classic. I think I'll play this one again, but I can't imagine putting anywhere near the hours I put into Re-Volt into it. This game would have blown my mind 8 years ago, but just feels a bit outdated.

Achievements? They're pretty's all I've gotten so far. You need to play through about 20 tracks before you start getting more...and I've only played through 5. I imagine I'll eventually make more progress though.

No comments: